“Some are very happy that I left”

The King Emeritus has given an extensive interview to the French writer Laurence Debray. And she has transformed into a book –Mon roi déchu (My fallen king) -, which will go on sale in France on October 6, those conversations that he has had with Juan Carlos I, who fled to the United Arab Emirates more than a year ago, after they came to light judicial investigations about the alleged illicit origin of his fortune.

The year of the king emeritus in Abu Dhabi does not appease the scandal and his return depends on Felipe VI

The year of the king emeritus in Abu Dhabi does not appease the scandal and his return depends on Felipe VI

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According to the French magazine Paris match, the writer maintains the following conversation with the father of the current king of Spain. “Don’t you feel alone here?” She asks him. “I have good friends here,” he replies, from the exclusive house where he has lived for a year, on one of the artificial islands of Abu Dhabi. “Will he be back soon?”, The writer is interested. “I have no idea. Some are very happy that I left,” he ditch.

Asked about the reason why he is in the aforementioned Arab country, Juan Carlos I answers: “Here I do not interfere with the Crown.” And he assures that what he misses the most about Spain is “the food”, although according to the magazine, which has had access to the book that is about to go out to French bookstores, the king emeritus has received a visit from Spanish friends that they have brought him Serrano ham.

“The institutions that I left should be sufficient. They speak for themselves. But this is true: we destroy institutions more easily than we build them,” adds Juan Carlos I. This does not leave a good place for the weight that the Spanish monarchy now maintains in hands of his son, who withdrew the allocation he received from the Royal Household budget in March 2020, just a few days after the start of the state of alarm, for his investigations with the justice.

The French magazine maintains that relations between the emeritus king and his son are broken, and that Felipe VI did not congratulate him on his 83rd birthday last January. Instead, he points out that Juan Carlos I speaks practically daily with his other two daughters and with Queen Sofía, with whom he apparently maintains a good relationship despite the alleged infidelities of the previous monarch.

The pending accounts with the Justice

In the book, the emeritus king does not speak instead of the suspicions of tax fraud and money laundering that keep alive three avenues of investigation by the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office and some inquiries in the Tax Agency. The two voluntary regularizations – totaling five million euros -, which he carried out after learning that he was being investigated, entailed the recognition by the emeritus that he evaded taxes to the Spanish treasury and the attempt to avoid criminal investigations that could seriously compromise his judicial future. But the last one, of 4.4 million euros, carried out at the beginning of the year, motivated the last investigation of the Treasury on the origin of those funds.

In addition, the first one opened by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office more than a year ago, and then passed to the Supreme Court, inquires about the 65 million euros that Juan Carlos I of Saudi Arabia received in 2008 and that in 2012 he transferred to his then lover, Corinna Larsen. This transfer is being investigated by the Spanish and Swiss prosecutors, considering that it could be a commission in exchange for the monarch to mediate so that the Spanish companies that built the AVE to Mecca would accept a substantial reduction in the price of the works.

The most recent of the investigations also opened by the Prosecutor’s Office in November 2020 is the one that focuses on the existence of a ‘trust’ [un grupo de empresas unidas para monopolizar el mercado y controlar los precios] that moved 10 million euros to an account on the island of Jersey in which Juan Carlos I is listed as the beneficiary. These proceedings have their origin in an “intelligence report” of the Money Laundering Prevention Service (Sepblac), the highest Spanish authority in the fight against black money laundering and the one that gives the alert on suspicious movements of capital.

This was not the first time that the Sepblac, a department that depends on the Ministry of Economy, raised the alarms in relation to the emeritus. Another notice from this unit is at the origin of another investigation, revealed by elDiario.es, on the expenses that Juan Carlos I and other family members – among them, Queen Sofía and some of her grandchildren – made in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with opaque cards that were fed from funds not declared to the Treasury. These are expenses after his abdication and that he lost the constitutional protection that made him unimpeachable for all the possible crimes committed during the almost forty years that he was on the throne.


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